Student Ambassadors

Student Ambassadors serve as critical links between their academic institutions and News-Decoder. They help promote our program on campus, strengthening student and faculty engagement and extending our global network. We thank them for their support. For a list of our founding members, click here.

Below are our Ambassadors for 2017-18. Their successors will be announced shortly.


Gracyn Sollman is in her final year at Greens Farms Academy in Connecticut, concentrating in Global Studies. She enjoys everything from the Humanities to Biology. She is co-chair of the school’s Model United Nations club and the senior-most editor of the school’s literary publication. This past summer she studied sustainable development and social entrepreneurship at Yale with the Young Global Scholars program. Outside of school, she enjoys singing, skiing and traveling.


Christine Fernando is in her second year of undergraduate studies at Indiana University, focusing on Journalism and Psychology, with a minor in chemistry. She covers the police beat for the student newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student, and serves on the executive board of several clubs, including News-Decoder. She is especially interested in reporting on religion, culture, race, sustainability and scientific literacy.
Cody Thompson is a third-year undergraduate student at Indiana University, focusing on Journalism and pursuing a certificate in French. He is interested in becoming a foreign correspondent. He has received an award Best Writer and Best Editor for his work at the student newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student. His goals are to travel to faraway places and to tell the stories that would otherwise go unheard.


Yu Hin Cheung is from Hong Kong and in his second-to-last year of high school in the ISF Academy. His favorite subjects are Economics and History, and his hobbies include swimming and playing jazz music.  He hopes to study International Relations or other social science subjects at university.

Suining Sim is in her second-to-last year of high school at the ISF Academy in Hong Kong. Chinese-American by nationality, she loves English Literature, History and Theater. Her favorite hobbies are horseback riding, baking and writing. She enjoys tea on rainy days, Broadway and debating social justice issues.


Hala Almomani is from Jordan and in her third year at King’s Academy. She has lived in America and Jordan, and speaks Arabic and English fluently. She enjoys reading and writing, and contributes to the school’s newspaper and literary magazine. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteer work and participating in Model United Nations conferences.


Emma Bapt is a third-year undergraduate student at King’s College London, studying History and War Studies. Her research interests are the dynamics of modern-day conflicts, peace-building operations and global security issues. Her dissertation will look at the work of the International Criminal Court and how the court might be used to tackle terrorism. She was News-Decoder’s 2016 summer intern and founded the News-Decoder Society at university in 2016.

Katie-Ann Wilson is a master’s student in International Political Economy at King’s College London. A British citizen, she has lived and worked in Israel and Greece as a grant writer, securing European Union grants for the Arab Media Center, I’lam, and working remotely with Oxford Research Group. She has also worked as a pre-publisher for openDemocracy.


Faith Fayman is in her second-to-last year at La Jolla Country Day School in California. She is passionate about writing and very interested in journalism. She loves the idea that it is possible to change and have impact on the world through her writing, and is excited to be able to write for News Decoder.

Danielle Franger is in her final year at La Jolla Country Day School in California. She loves literature, and enjoys writing both in and out of school, including for her own blog. At school she has been on the Ethics Council and the Student Council, while also doing community service. Danielle plans to study medicine and broadcast journalism with the aim of one day working as a Medical Correspondent for an international news organization.


Mayra Bokhari is in her final year at Miss Porter’s School in Connecticut. She moved to the United States with her family from Lahore, Pakistan when she was five months old. She is an avid reader of books, especially those relating to history and international affairs, and she enjoys English literature and poetry. She loves to travel, particularly in the Middle East.

Yujie (Claire) Ji is from Shenzhen, China and is in her second-to-last year at Miss Porter’s School. She is interested in journalism and social sciences. Her interest in social studies led her to become involved in blog writing and community service. At school she is one of the leaders of the Asian Student Alliance.

Leela Rosaz Shariyf is in her first year at Miss Porter’s School. She is an American-French dual national from Brooklyn, New York. Her favorite subjects are Science and English. Outside of school she likes to read books and articles, listen to music and play volleyball. She wants to be a neuroscientist.

Sewon Lim is in her final year at Miss Porter’s School. She comes from South Korea and has lived in Italy, Thailand, Switzerland and Ukraine. Her favorite classes are History and Social Science, and outside of class she enjoys playing golf and attending concerts and golf matches. At college she plans to major in international business or marketing, with the hope of eventually becoming an advertising manager.


Rahul Bhandaru is in his third year of high school at Princeton Day School in New Jersey. His favorite subjects include English, History and Math. He loves understanding the stories of those around him, volunteering locally and talking about global events. In his free time, Rahul likes to be outdoors, play golf and build various gadgets or models.

Megha Thomas is in her second year of high school at Princeton Day School in New Jersey. Her favorite subjects are English, Biology and Math. She enjoys participating in Model United Nations conferences and volunteering in her community while learning more about global issues. In her free time, she likes to draw, play piano and practice tennis. 


Janelle Johnson is in her second year of high school at St. Luke’s School in Connecticut. Her favorite subjects are Spanish, Math, English and Science. Outside of school, she plays basketball player and does local volunteer work. She is also involved in social justice, leadership, politics and global affairs.
Sarah Bryant is in her second year of high school at St. Luke’s School, and her favorite subjects are Science and History. At school she started the “Stay Woke Club,” which encourages students to be socially aware and to conduct productive conversations about issues affecting society today. Outside of school, she likes to read and sing. 


Peyton Spolansky is attending the School Year Abroad program in Spain this year. She comes from New York City and will finish her high school studies at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. Her favorite subjects are History and English, and she enjoys writing, reading, biking and running. Outside of class, she has worked on the Spanish newspaper at her school and has spent summers helping children in Harlem who struggle academically.
Jaeli Rose is in her second-to-last year of high school, currently studying in Rennes, France with the School Year Abroad program. At home in the United States, she attends The Hudson School in Hoboken, New Jersey. She enjoys French, history and political science, and plans to study International Relations in college before joining the Peace Corps. Outside of school, Jaeli loves traveling, horseback riding and spending time with her friends.


Devon Roberts is from San Francisco and in her second-to-last year at the Thacher School in California. Her favorite subjects are English and History, and her hobbies include traveling, playing sports and design. The favorite places she has traveled to are Cambodia and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
Yao Yin is in her second-to-last year at the Thacher School. Her family lives in Shenzhen, China. Since she was very young, she has been passionate about traveling and learning about other parts of the world. One of her goals in life is to live in at least 5 different countries and to immerse herself fully into the cultures. She enjoys visual arts, horseback riding and running.


Heather Shi was born in Tokyo, moved to China when she was 12 and studied in high school in Toronto before transferring to Westover School in Connecticut in her second-to-last year of high school. She loves biochemistry and plans eventually to go to medical school. She devotes much of her time away from her studies on volunteering and playing the piano. She has volunteered at Seasons Hospice of Connecticut, Waterbury Hospital, Markhaven Home for Seniors and Autism in Mind.
Madeleine Steele is in her final year at Westover School. She is interested in international business, international relations and global affairs. She plans to study international business in The Netherlands next year, and to one day start her own international company or eco-tourism company. She mostly grew up in Maine, but was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa for several years.